A Path Less Trodden

An inspiring story of a young woman who chose to join a social enterprise instead of the corporate world

3/17/2015 11:44:22 AM
written By : Maya Tsering Bhalla Print

Living in a privileged society, where every need is catered to at the drop of a hat, we tend to help the less-privileged only when it is convenient for us. In the midst of getting ahead in the rat race, it is often only when faced with a great adversity that people truly understand the meaning of giving back to society and feel driven to do so, despite the ‘lack of time’. Some people, like Komala Murugiah, Manager of Marketing and Corporate Services at Dignity Kitchen (Singapore’s first and only social enterprise food court and hawker training centre for the disabled, disadvantaged and elderly) does it as a fulltime job and revels in the challenges that come with working in such an atypical job. India Se spoke to the inspirational young woman about Dignity Kitchen and what it’s like working at such a selfless job, every day of her life.

India Se: Tell a little more about Dignity Kitchen.

Komala Murugiah: Dignity Kitchen (an initiative of Project Dignity Pte Ltd), was conceptualised in 2006 and incorporated in 2010. My mentor and boss, Koh Seng Choon funds the initiative as a way of giving back to the society. 

India Se: It’s highly commendable that you are working as the Manager for such a selfless cause in a start-up social enterprise. What are some of the challenges?

Komala Murugiah: Thank you. Three main challenges: 1) A lack of awareness about Dignity Kitchen. Our current location isn’t very accessible (We have moved three times due to high rentals) and there is a lack of funding for publicity. 2) The misconception people have about Social Enterprises. Profits attained are re-invested into training for those with special needs and channelled into meal treats for elderly folks. 3) Personally, I am trained in Economics and Communications and have yet to pursue qualifications in special needs education or social services. The communication strategies and working styles vary significantly, hence, I have to learn and adapt accordingly. 

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